I'm taking a class at my school that I knew I was going to have issues with. Culinary Nutrition. Again and again it's repeated that America is obese because we eat too much fat and protein. "Trim the fat off everything! Fat free stock. Trans fat and saturated fat are equally bad. Fat free dressing", on and on. Where do I begin to counteract some of the claims made by the instructor? Is there a point with someone who will never really be able to un-school and un USDA pyramid themselves? It stinks to see all the other students nodding their head in agreement. We talked a little about Paleo but she dismissed me because she knows I've gained 10 (very unwanted) lbs since being Paleo. I'm still working on getting the right diet for myself, but grain free is right for me. She's not exactly trim however. Ugh.
If you really want to try, Gary North has the answer: Be as "wise as serpents and harmless as doves".
"The key to an offensive strategy if you are a student is to feign ignorance and beg for clarification. Do this in a way that gains the sympathy of the other students. If the professor pulls rank on you, he's dead in the water in class. If he stonewalls, he loses face. If he says he will help you after class, go to stage two. He is playing nice guy. Your task to undermine the brighter student's trust in what he is teaching.
"Stage one involves asking questions. 'Professor, I'm confused. You said..... Do I have thus right? I do? OK, here's what I don't understand....' You bring up the counter view as if you have figured out on your own that something does not add up. To do this, you must master the assigned material and also the counter material. Few students ever attempt this."
Show her the research. That is the bottom line in academic institutions. I actually asked about this when I went to learn about the Nutrition program at Bastyr (a holistic/naturopathic school). They seem to be very vegetarian focused (the school cafeteria is vegetarian), and I asked if it was okay if you have a different view point.
The answer I received was that you can believe whatever as long as you back up what you're saying. This means your opinions, or you & your friends experiences, aren't going to hold much water. But research is.
I would check out all the articles cited in Robb Wolf's book, especially since it is fairly recent. Here's one to get you started:
The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization
If you are determined to try and sway the instructor's views, the most concise information I've found on why conventional wisdom isn't always to be believed is Gary Taube's NY Times article, "What If It's All Been A Big Fat Lie".
If she's willing to read that, then you can suggest more. If not, then you don't have much of a chance at all.
It might be to your advantage to see what you can learn from this course. When it is over, and you have earned your "A", start a blog and refute what was taught to the best of your ability. The reality is, there are trim & fit people who eat grains. Whether they are healthy (or healthier than someone who does not) is for someone else to decide.
If you really want to stick forks in your eyes, read the Hungry Girl books, or watch her show on Cooking Channel. Methinks you can get through the course, get your grade, and move on. Just smile with amusement for the 2-3 hours a week you must give up to get your degree.
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